California drivers legally allowed to use GPS on cell phones

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - California drivers can legally use a GPS or read a map on their cell phone while driving, a state appeals court has ruled.

On Thursday, the 5th District Court of Appeals reversed the ruling against a Fresno man who was ticketed in 2012 for looking at a map on his phone.

"Obviously, the law doesn't say that you can't use it. We want you to use it -- we don't want you to get lost -- but just be very careful when you're using it," California Highway Patrol spokesman Vaughn Cain told 23ABC. “Since the law has come out, officers have had to use their discretion on whether or not somebody was actually doing a text based communication or they were using an application for navigate.”

In this case, the ticket was issued under the state’s hands-free cell phone provision, which the court found did not extend to maps or navigation systems on phones. The state law which prohibits texting while driving is separate.

The state attorney general’s office has the ability to challenge the new ruling.  

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